Google Ads May Be More Valuable Than You Thought

Who ever said that nobody clicks online ads? Many companies might dismiss Google advertising because they think such ads are ignored by online consumers. But a new study released by internet marketing company WordStream illustrates that that’s not always the case.

In fact, paid search listings are beginning to take up more and more real estate on Google search pages, as you may have noticed. And even though organic search results still yield more clicks overall, those who are ready to buy are actually almost twice as likely to click sponsored search results than an organic search results. WordStream distinguishes these consumers by their keyword phrasing.

For example, those who are ready to buy something use keywords with high commercial intent like “toaster oven reviews” or “best internet marketing software.” Those who use enter searches like “coffee shop” or “when is the election” are less likely to be looking to buy something and were found to be less likely to click sponsored search results.

WordStream’s graphic at the end of this article illustrates many other statistics that businesses might find useful or interesting.

For example, on an average Google search page, the three sponsored ads at the top of the page yield about 41% of the page’s clicks, and they take up a large portion of the above-the-fold space. Almost half of Google users in a recent survey couldn’t distinguish the paid ads from the regular search results if there wasn’t a right column.

So for small businesses that have dismissed using Google’s pay-per-click ads, it might be time for a second look. Many companies choose to rely heavily on search engine optimization to gain pageviews organically, but for those who want to reach customers who are ready to buy, sponsored search results could help you land a whole new set of customers.

“If your goal is to try to actually sell products or services online, I think the research shows pretty clearly that paid search advertising isn’t optional,” said Larry Kim, Founder/CTO of WordStream, Inc. “Sadly, I think that people who think otherwise are just stuck in denial.”

Of course, Google offers many different advertising options, which are covered in less detail on the graphic below. See WordStream’s post for more information about their study.


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

4 Reactions
  1. It is just my opinion, but this infographic is way too busy.

  2. Remember that Google is a publicly traded company with a fiduciary duty to increase shareholder value. This is accomplished by increasing profits. Profits increase when Google makes more money. Google makes money when users clicks ads instead of organic listings. Therefore, Google has a STRONG incentive to emphasize paid ads over organic ads. The dominance of paid ads will only continue until a significant user backlash occurs (which I don’t see happening because when someone is paying for traffic they generally create better user experiences, which is what google says it’s all about anyway).